Signals and study and stories, oh my!

It seems I went AWOL on the blog posting front. Again. But now that I’m here, many things…

SIGNALS: First, a signal boost: Say Yes to Gay YA, where authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith talk about an unfortunate instance of being asked to either make a gay character in their novel straight or remove the character’s POV altogether. EDITED TO ADD: Some follow up. And this is where I bow out without further comment other than to say: must so many people resort to needing to cast a villain with a dastardly agenda in the matter instead of considering that it’s more likely not so clearcut?

STUDY: Busy grad school is busy! But despite some initial moments of panic (because that’s what I do), I’m settling into the school routine just fine and have started to find a balance between class and everything else I need to squeeze into my days. You know, like writing. Speaking of…

STORIES: Appropriately enough for a writer, there are sevveral things going on in the story department:

* Now available for purchase is the 2011 Untied Shoelaces of the Mind Anthology, which includes my twisted little flash piece “Mr. Fluffy.” The story should also be online soon in issue 5 of Untied Shoelaces of the Mind.

* My story “The Cycle of the Sun” was accepted for publication in the March 2012 issue of NewMyths.com! My Odyssey classmates will quite possibly remember this piece as “the orgy story.”

* My steampunk lemurs on a dirigible story, “A Red One Cannot See” (originally published in Shimmer’s Clockwork Jungle Book issue), has been added to my stories available at AnthologyBuilder

* And I’ve finally gotten to work on the revisions for my story “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen,” which I got some great feedback on back in July at TNEO. Much like my daily schedule right now, these revisions are proving to be quite the balancing act. There are some changes to make that I think are going to really strengthen the story, but I feel like it would be easy to do too much and totally edit all the life and magic out the story.

“Unlucky Clover” in Beyond Centauri

I’m a little behind in announcing this, but the July 2011 issue of the young adult magazine Beyond Centauri, which includes my story “Unlucky Clover,” is out. “Unlucky Clover” is a sequel of sorts to my similarly titled (and much shorter) story “Lucky Clover,” which appeared in Flash Fiction Online in March 2008.

Three Squiggly Things Make a Post

~ Much to my surprise, on Monday I cranked out the first draft of a short story I hadn’t planned to work on that night let alone finish. It felt rather reinvigorating. I wrote 1,000 not totally crappy words in under an hour, which is unusually fast for me. Onto the second draft de-crapification process! (And here’s hoping I find a decent title for the story along the way.) But because my brain doesn’t like to let me enjoy such minor triumphs of productivity for too long…

~ The online world doesn’t need me to offer yet another link to a certain NY Times review of a certain HBO show based on the novels by a certain George RR Martin. But as a chick working on an epic fantasy novel, subsequent commentary and discussion generated by that review have sent my brain into overdrive on pondering women in epic fantasy—as writers, readers, and characters. Unfortunately, my brain is such a jumble right now and my time so limited that I don’t feel like I could put my thoughts down in coherent form at present. Part of that brain jumble has resulted from me obsessing over things to the point of it becoming paralyzing—this fear that, while I know what I’m trying to do with my novel, I’m going to get it wrong and end up with something used as an example of everything that is wrong with epic fantasy. I know nothing is going to please everyone, but Irrational Me, being irrational, isn’t listening to Rational Me.

~ While Irrational Me and Rational Me duke it out, I’m going to go re-caffeinate and get some more Ye Olde Day Job work done.

Coming up for air

Hey, look at that, I have a blog. Hello, poor neglected blog.

I haven’t had a chance to read or post  the last couple of weeks. Busy, busy, busy, with a side of busy. I hope you’ve all been up to incredibly exciting things that I’m going to feel bad for having missed.

As for me, my main accomplishment amid all the crazy that’s been keeping me away is that I finished a new short story, “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen.” I’d wield the productivity stick in celebration, but I’m much too tired and headachy.

Two Publication Updates & Some Writerly Silliness

1) My story "God’s Gift to Women" is now up on Daily Science Fiction’s website for your reading pleasure/critical dismemberment. It’s flash length, so it’s a quick read. In other words, if you haven’t read it already, what’s the holdup?

2) Over the weekend I got a look at the TOC for Wilde Stories 2011: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction, which puts me in some rather fine company:

"Love Will Tear us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson
"Map of Seventeen" by Chris Barzak
"How to Make Friends in Seventh Grade" by Nick Poniatowski
"Mortis Persona" by Barbara A. Barnett
"Mysterium Tremendum" by Laird Barron
"Oneirica" by Hal Duncan
"Lifeblood" by Jeffrey Ricker
"Waiting for the Phone to Ring" by Richard Bowes
"Blazon" by Peter Dubé
"All the Shadows" by Joel Lane
"The Noise" by Richard Larson
"How to Make a Clown" by Jeremy C. Shipp
"Beach Blanket Spaceship" by Sandra McDonald
"Hothouse Flowers: or The Discreet Boys of Dr. Barnabas" by Chaz Brenchley

Of the short stories I’ve read over the past year, Alaya Dawn Johnson’s "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was one of my absolute favorites, so getting to appear alongside it adds an extra dollop of awesome to the awesome sauce that was being included in this book in the first place.

3) As I’ve mentioned before, my muse is a surly plumber named Jim Bob. A friend recently posted a link to this comic, which makes Jim Bob look like quite the charmer in comparison. (potentially NSFW, especially if you go poking around the rest of the website)

Four Things Make an Undercaffeinated Post

1) After another once over and some fine-tuning on Saturday, I was able to declare "Demon Dreams" ready for other people to actually look at. It even slimmed down to a mere 6,500 words.

2) Next up on the short story writing front is a story inspired by this article: Why dying is forbidden in the Arctic

3) On the non-writing front, it was a fun concert-going weekend. For both Christmas and his birthday, I got AsYouKnowBob tickets for concerts that happened to fall right on top of one another.  Saturday night we saw Vienna Teng and Alex Wong at World Cafe Live in Philly. The concert was awesome. Not so awesome was me turning into a dorktastic fangirl when getting them to sign a songbook afterwards. And Sunday night we saw Randy Newman, which was a lot of fun, though I could have done without the guy behind me wanting to sing along (badly) with everything. I paid to hear the guy on the stage, dude, not you.

4) I need more coffee. Stat.

Two Quick & Shiny Things

First, my story “Dumping the Dead” was selected for inclusion in The Best of Every Day Fiction Three.

And second, a review of “Mortis Persona” at Tangent Online says, among other things, “Barnett’s lush prose does a fantastic job of building this world.”  I don’t think I’ve ever had my prose described as lush before, but it’s a description I’ll happily accept.